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tv   Talk to Al Jazeera  Al Jazeera  February 2, 2014 7:00pm-7:31pm EST

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cause delays for tourists heading home. >> the score of the game. 5-0 seattle seahawks in the first quarter. "talk to al jazeera" is up next on al jazeera america. s . >> it's a blessing to be given a second chance. >> former sports superagent leigh steinberg is back in the game following the devastating professional and personal collapse. >> i chose a self-destructive way to block it out. that was alcohol. i spiralled down. >> inspiration for the movie "jerry maguire" talks about his comeback and head injuries in football. >> i called it a ticking time bomb and an undiagnosed health
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epidemic. >> plus his advice for richard sherman. >> he twerked his way into the national consciousness, taking a page out of miley cyrus's book. >> when you started off the term super agent didn't exist. if you think about it player representation didn't exist as it does today. how did you start that, and why? >> the reality is there was no right of representation when i began. i remember calling up mike brown of the bengals to represent a player, and he said, "we don't deal with agents" click. that was that. mostly players had their parents tore did it themselves. the roll of an agent is to serve as a buffer. years ago i asked steve bartkowski in the first negotiation whether he wanted to hear every fact that went on between me and the general managers. and he said, "sure, it's my
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life, i want to hear it. i said steve, they'll say no so complimentary things about you. "no, i'll be fine." we get into the negotiation and the gm says, "not so fast, his back is a little bad. this wasn't a strong craft in quarterbacks, but he was the best there was." i conveyed that to steve to which he said, "get me traded." part of my job is to get into the heart and mind of a young athlete, to ask him to rate his values, whether it's short term, families or the ability to start. men do not share, so it's a question of peeling back the layers of the onion so i can understand hopes and dreams, fears and anxieties, focus them towards a second career, focus on the injury issue, have
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players mentor them into being a productive pro player, which is different to college. >> in addition to having to be an attorney, someone familiar with money and economist, you have to be a psychologist. >> that may be the important study. it is in sports. if you understand, get into someone else's heart, mind and see the world the way they see it, then you can understand and solve problems. if you can't understand human motivation, and another person's point of view and what they really want - very hard to craft a win/win situation. >> it starts with steve bartkowski. you end up having 60 plus first-round draft picks, eight of which went number one, was it easier towards the peak of your career or harder. >> it's more fun building, than the sitting there with an
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impossible standard. it got to the point where if i didn't represent the very first pick in the first round, that was considered by people to be a disappointing year. and we have a huge baseball practice. we had boxing where we had the biggest bike contract and olympic sports. i was saving baseball teams, like the san francisco giants helping mayor jordan and the oakland a and less successfully the effort to save the rams. the whole concept was to have a big impact in american sports and culture. hopefully we were doing that with a charitable programs, community and concern with player accesafety.
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at one point you were considered one of the most powerful people in sports. >> it was a year i was rated ahead of pete rozzel, n.f.l. commissioner. >> going back to my dad's admonitions, which were two treasure relationships, especially family, and making a significant difference in the time you live in by helping people who can help themselves. we never advertised power. you can either use influence to help people, or you can talk about it, and dealing with powerful men, i didn't talk about it. i saw it as power to do good. i never confused myself with public perception or the public me. i knew that newspaper clippings and awards and all the rest of
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it were ephemeral. so you can put your name on a building thinking you win immortality, and a larger donor comes along. they are like castles on the beech. to meet friendship, making a difference were the keys. a lot of fans have the hard time seeing players come from other leagues. it happened in n.b.a. guys getting all the money before they played a second at the professional level. we saw it with the yankees. they signed masahiro tanaka from japan. does too much money core up the game. yasieb puig was brought by the dogers under similar circumstances. he lit up the field. players are competitive. they want to play notwithstanding all the economics that people talk about, so it doesn't impact the
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player if they have his character right. terms of the game - baseball is rolling in profits. baseball has quinn tippled receipts since 1994. they have the money. the concept of paying bonuses to athletes has had leads since the start of sport. every time it happens the dollars cascade. what you saw was the effect when you have absolute freedom and teams bidding against each other in any economic situation. if you have multiple buyers, economics will sore. it's one off, more than it is a big trend, and the evil umpire will be evil once more. >> an interesting thing i read in your book was your history with concussions and research
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into the long-term effect. tell us where we were with concussions in the n.f.l.s. >> so in the '80s i had a crisis of conference and believed i couldn't stack dollars into the bank books of players thinking i was doing my fiduciary responsibility when they mightened up with dementia. there was denial for years. no doctor could tell us how many was too many. i held a serious of concussion conferences in the '90s, we submitted a whaiper -- white paper, nothing changed. in 2007 we had a huge congregation, we had neuroolss that said three or more caused an expon essentially higher rate
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of premature sill inty, chronic illness. the league after that started to have concussion awareness under the new commissioner roger gaddel. they passed a baseline testing map date that the players had to be tested. they passed a whistle-blower edict asking players to report on other players who on the field seemed to have problems with concussion. they had stronger return to play concepts. all of this was new for a league that had not recognised it. then along came the lawsuit, which sort of stopped everything. because it was a question of admission. and i now believe this - that when an offensive lineman hits a defensive lineman, he produces a
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low-level concuesive ech. an offensive lineman can walk out of football with 10,000 subconclusive hits, none of which were diagnosed or he was aware of, but the aggregate of which was impactful than having three knock out blows. we are going to see a mass of impacted athletes as time went on. the problem is outrunning the changes that football has made. and that's why i call it an exo sen shall threat. if 50% of mothers across the country realise what those impacts do, and tell their kids "you can play any sport except tackle football", it won't kill football, it changes the
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socioeconomics so the people who play football will be like the people who box. the irony is at the absolute apex of power with the country n.f.l. crazy about 2:1, top rated shows, we have this lurking threat. we need dramatically to move on helmets. the counter helmets products against skull fracture. >> sports is a dog eat dog world. bit on a lot of backstabbing. the bigger you become the bigger target you have: what happened to leigh steinberg, how did it go from a peak to pretty much crumb bling? >> in the year 2000 a huge merger mania hit the sport industry. the concept was to buy up and bundle practices in football,
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baseball, boxing, and then you use them to trigger a marketing arm that could market teams, leagues, any interesting individual corporations. and then build a studio not in the brick and more tar sense, but motion pictures, things that make money, television, reality, event shows. dramatically scripted shows, help with video games. work on projects that span the different platforms to bring fans closer. we disofrt in the '90s, it was the spawn off special projects that had the great multiples, more than the actual representation. so i dreamed up a company called athlete direct. we put michael jordan, ken
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griffey jr, football quarterbacks up on the internet. a fan could read their weekly diary, read their description of their foundation, buy things with e-commerce. so we probably put a couple of hundred thousands into the project and sold the share for $20 million, and that triggered it. that consolidation, that merger was happening. the challenge as could you build the larger empire. we were bought by a firm an indescibable amount of money and they changed their minds. i sat and felt trapped. it caused younger agents to be really dissatisfied. not really with me, but with the whole group, and they wanted to leave. that was the first step. then a series of personal reverses happened in my life.
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i lost my father to a long, lingering death from cancer. my two boys were diagnosed with an incurrable eye disease. we lost a house to flooding. and had to knock it to the ground. and then my wife and i broke up and my marriage broke up. it felt like there was one thing after another after another. was it going to be a locus plague. i felt like guliver tethered on a beach and powerlessness. so i chose a self-destructive way to block it out, and that was alcohol. in the years 2007, 2008 and 2009 i spiralled down. by march of 2010 i realised that
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alcohol had taken over my life. i was not being a great father. more absentee and i wasn't making a difference. i realised sobriety had to come first, and finally surrendered to the concept i was an alcoholic, and went ahead and moved into sober living and worked a 12-step program with unique fellowship and i work on that every day and here we are four years later. >> in your book "the agent my 40 year career making deals and changing the game", you speak of so many aspects of your profession and on a personal level you mention how it fell apart and alcoholism. is the one point you had to admit that you were powerless over alcohol. coming from someone so powerful in your career, was that a hard thing to accept that you were powerless against alcohol.
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>> yes, or i wouldn't have kept drinking. there's an ilugs as you go through the process that you are in control, that you con choose when you drink or not. something happens and it goes from conscious volition to the mid brain that sends out cravings that override every element of control. absolutely it's the hardest thing in the world to release that i can impact everything it never hurt me terribly to not win every battle. i didn't spect that business would be a bowl of cherries. i knew as you came in there would be challenges, and with the carefullest of plans things
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could could awry. that gave me the battle to influence things, as long as i was out there in the fray, i was fine. this was a series of onslaughts in my personal life that i couldn't control. i used alcohol, which i couldn't control and i reached a point that it's hard to tell people that have been addicted to a substance. the first enchaination is to say -- inclination is if you had more will power and wanted to stop, you'd stop. i think i exhibited significant will power in building the relationships and the business that we have. that changes the brain, so it stops becoming conscious. the disease concept is difficult to get across to people who simply think, gee, why didn't
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you stop. if behind door a was spiritural fulfilment, a happy family, economic peace, reputation, great relationships. now, behind door b is catastrophe, legal implications, financial devastation, relationships breaking up, who would willingly pick door b. >> no one. the point is that's the nature of addictive disease, it's the nature of what happened, and when i realised that i was out of control and powerless, i knew i had to take action. >> i'm sitting with sport agent leigh steinberg, in a moment i'll ask him about the toughest part of paying stober. -- toughest part of staying sober.
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>> welcome back to "talk to al jazeera", here with superagent leigh steinberg. what is the hardest part of staying sober? >> the hardest part was what happened four years ago, was the recognition that i had a significant problem, that it was outside my power to fix, and that i had to get help and i haven't made it four years alone. i don't think anybody would stop drinking or give up drugs or
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stop gambling or shopping or whatever they are addicted to if the cravings didn't go away. if it was the way that it is in the first few months, where it's a constant thought, i think it would be difficult. but they do go away. and you get refocused backs on life. so i can be where - in a banquet where alcohol is served. it's not miening. >> you are on the comeback professionally and personally. do you think you can get back to the level that you once achieved as an agent or is that a goal for you at this point. >> i'm not going to compete against my former self. >> you used to. >> right. >> you had to compete against yourself to get to a level and maintain it. i did. i wouldn't do that any more. it's a blessing to be given a
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second chance, to be back amongst the living. what saved me was an assistance of proportionality. at the worst i was aware that i was not a starving bessant in dar pure, that i didn't have the name leigh steinberg in nazi germany, i didn't have crippling diseases. just to be born in the united states, a democratic country at this time of history is a miracle of birth, i didn't earn it or fight in a war to keep it. it was given to me as a blessing. what right do i have not to keep trying? as for goals, i still believed that i have the ability to guide a young athlete, to
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make an impact on the world and have his dreams come true. >> you are watching talk to al jazeera, here with sports agent design. when we return i'll ask what advice he would give if his client was richard sherman after his controversial post-game rant.
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>> welcome back to "talk to al jazeera" here with superagent leigh steinberg. one of the biggest stories
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coming into the super bowl was the post game interview that richard sherman gave to fox sports. if he was your client, the moment after you saw that, what would have been your advice? >> first of all he wouldn't have been my client, because we work with role models. he twerked his way into the national consciousness. he took a page out of miley cyrus's book and did something so dramatic that all the country is talking about it. first of all, since i think he preplanned that and was ready to do it to grab his moment of fame, i would say, "you succeeded, you did a great job", you take an obscure defence back making him the top topic of conversation. super bowl week he has a chance to take that any direction he wants. he can soften it, he can be
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outrageous. the super bowl is a premier marketing event in the country. it is the ability to escape narrow genre and become a household name. players that play dramatically and give a good week of interviews can find the cascade. i represented troikman, i watched him walk on to the field as good quarterback troy aikman, and walked off as troy aikman superstar in "93, and he's still doing endorsements. steve young, the monkey's off my back, wins the super bowl, doing endorsements. richard sherman has the ability, if he can play well enough, that either can be - becomes a pet rock, where this is overquickly,
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but if he interviews well and leaves a distinctive impression, america will allow a boisterous person to attract. it's harder to get the attention first place and he has it 6789 >> favourite client of. >> of all time? >> yes. >> >> favourite tv executive you negotiated with. >> bob craft from the patriots. >> the player you wished you had represented but never had a chance to. >> you know, tiger woods >> that's a good one. favourite super bowl party that you threw. >> in tampa bay where we took over the zoo, and we had a live hook up between that party and troops in the field in iraq. >> sounds like a good party.
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>> this year we are doing troops in the field in afghanistan. athletes, owners and celebrities can come up and interact with the troops. >> appreciate the time. >> thanks. >> good seeing you. best of luck. >> thank you. >> hello and welcome. i'm here to talk about the intersection of hardware and humanity and we're doing it in a unique way. this is a show about science by scientists. let's check out our team of hard core in other words. kyle hill is an engineer, tonight he's turning back time. hearts ravaged by age. suddenly rejuvenated. the protein discovered in a harvard lab. rachelle oldmixon is a neuroscientist. now, science fights